Text Box: PIANIST AUTographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $750.00



11” x 12” original charcoal sketch of the legendary pianist by pianist Ilse Weissmann, August, 1935.  Godowsky has autographed the piece to the bottom left and Weissmann to the bottom right. Ex Leopold Godowsky III estate.

Godowsky (1870-1938) was 65 year old in 1935.  His birthday was celebrated in February with a secretly planned testimonial dinner, the kind of event he did not like.  That said many of his musical friends, non-musical friends and students; Clarence Adler, Harold Bauer, Abram Chasins, Shura Cherkassky, Walter Damrosch, Albert Einstein, Mischa Elman, George Gershwin, Jascha Heifetz, Josef Hofmann, Leonard Liebling, Josef Lhevinne, Nadia Reisenberg, Fritz Reiner, Pauline Ruvinsky, David Saperton and Joseph Schuster were in attendance.   

He was invited in 1931 by the Soviet Government, via the legendary Russian pianist and pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus, also one of his former pupils to come teach in Moscow and Leningrad for three months, all expenses paid.  He turned down the first offer, which was extended again in 1934 and he accepted.  He left New York in April of 1935 and was received in Russia as a super-star.  He was the guest of honor at a music festival in Leningrad and given a private tour of the Kremlin in Moscow, as well as Lenin’s tomb. The pianist turned down a visit with Stalin.  He spent a little time in both cities and then decided Russia was depressing and cut short the trip and the scheduled master classes.  He went from Moscow to Riga and then on to Poland.  He toured Warsaw, the Belvedere Palace, went to visit Chopin’s death mask in Zelazowa Wola and then to Vilna.  He then planned to visit his home town of Solzy, to visit a relative who had sent him an 1882 poster for a concert of him as a wunderkind but due to the frontier lines between Poland and Lithuania, it was no longer possible.  He then went on to Carlsbad for “the cure” where he took “radium” and thermal baths.  It would have been here where he posed for Ilse Weissmann.   He commented in a letter to his daughter Dagmar, If one wants to live long, this is the place: a day seems like a year.  He left Carlsbad thoroughly depressed and exhausted, curtailing all of his lessons and stopped composing. (He had suffered a stroke in 1930, his son Gordon committed suicide in 1932 and his wife passed away in 1933 after a long illness.  Godowsky began to suffer from various maladies in 1936 and passed away in 1938 from stomach cancer.

Ilse Weissmann Glassel (1908-2000) was born in Berlin to the pianist Gisella Grosz (1975-1942) and Berlin music critc and author, Adolf Weissmann (1873-1929).  Her Mother was Jewish and born in Romania, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Grosz studied at the Hugarian Academy of Music with Liszt’s pupil István Thomán and in Berlin with Teresa Carreńo.  She was a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1902, 1905, 1908 and 1909.  She was also one of the first women pianists to record piano rolls with Welte Mignon.  Ilse was born in 1908 out of wedlock, a big scandal at the time.  She did not marry Weissmann until 1911 after her retirement from the stage.  Her husband was well regarded for his music criticism and also for biographies of Bizet, Chopin, Puccini and Verdi.  Ilse’s first piano teacher was her Mother.  She then went to Paris in 1933, escaping the Nuremburg laws to study with Konrad Wolff.  A year older than Weissmann, he had studied with List’s pupil Josef Lomba, Bruno Elsner and Artur Schnabel. Ilse lived in Paris and for a time Florence.  Gisella Grosz resided in Berlin until 1942, when she was deported to the Riga Ghetto where she died the same year. (There is a rumor she was transported to Therisienstadt concentration camp.)  Around 1939, Ilse moved to Great Britain; later she would move to the United States.  She resided in Jeffersonville, New York and opened a piano studio in 1949.  Ilse was also an artist who illustrated newspapers and magazines with drawings of various musicians she met during the 1920’s and 1930’s. 

The illustration which came from the estate of Leopold Godowsky III was originally backed with paper which has been removed, except for the edges. There are some light glue references of the original glue which could be taken to an art conservator for removal.  A few tears at the edges have been repaired with archival tape.  There is also a central crease which a restorer could also remove.  It is an excellent likeness of Godowsky and a one-of-a-kind autograph directly from the family of the pianist and composer.